LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Invention Student Incubator

L A needs a homegrown STEAM workforce. Building upon our extensive experience with youth tech and robotics training, Rolling Robots will develop an Invention Student Incubator where high school students can hone in and expand their skills in invention, product development and entrepreneurship. The program is a local, highly technical, long term experiential learning environment that is accessible to all. This work will train the first cohort of students and serve as a blueprint to develop Invention Student Incubators throughout Los Angeles.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

East LA

South LA

West LA

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

For Los Angeles to increase its global competitiveness we need an increase in STEAM capable workers. There needs to be transformative change at a micro-level to provide tech opportunities to students. The federal government supports this, see the bipartisan bill H.R.6521 "Supporting STEM Learning Opportunities Act". and the 2022 Whitehouse report "CONVERGENCE EDUCATION: A GUIDE TO TRANSDISCIPLINARY STEM LEARNING AND TEACHING". We have surveyed high school educators and found some common pain points: No room in the present curriculum to add Invention and Entrepreneurship courses. Funding available for equipment but not for capable people to operate and maintain it. Difficult to include the entire class in these programs Our students have commented: Programs are too rigid with little allowance for creativity. Not enough connection to the real world. Students have extra unstructured time in school. There is a need to provide new approaches and facilities in Los Angeles.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The mission of our program is to help STEAM aware students take the next steps in their experiential journey. With our program we aim to extend school with real world experience for high achieving students to stretch their capabilities and experience activities not possible in their in school settings. We will develop Invention Student Incubators with Minds and Hands on real world activities - Learning engineering concepts - Identifying problems to solve - Creating technical prototypes - Entrepreneurship activities - Raising money to develop a product - Launching the Product - Selling the product. Imagine an Invention Student Incubator consisting of an open work area, creative design room, a machine shop and a digital fabrication room. Staffed by volunteers and paid teachers and technicians. A place where students from various schools, geographical areas and diverse demographics can come together to hone in and expand their STEAM skills. This will be an incubator of people rather than just products. We expect to produce highly trained and experienced individuals ready to enter the tech workforce or enroll in the top universities to continue their education. This is the best solution to develop our homegrown STEM workforce, it is local, highly technical, accessible to all and a long term experiential learning environment. The program may create the future leaders of tomorrow and indirectly impact millions in LA as well as the rest of the state and nation.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our program aims to incubate advanced students, surpassing the confines of a conventional classroom setting. During the first year our facility will be a model to duplicate across LA for which we expect to draw federal funding. Specifically the grant will establish the Invention Student Incubator and train the first cohort of students. These students will set an example for others to follow. In the longer term having a student incubator accessible to any student will change the way our students approach their education and career planning. Students may choose this as an option to replace part of their high school day. The dream vision: Incubators will be producing talented individuals with the necessary skills to address the pressing challenges faced by Los Angeles. By fostering an innovative and dynamic community that enables tech entrepreneurship by youth, our students will generate employment opportunities and tackle societal issues, ultimately fostering economic growth in LA.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Since 2003 we have worked with thousands of students spanning K to 12th grade, throughout Los Angeles County. Our organization is dedicated to providing hands-on education in coding, robotics, invention, engineering, and entrepreneurship. We have received awards in competitive robotics, secured student grants from MIT, and obtained patents. In order to widen our impact, including more high school students. We are seeking funding to establish a multi-year product development program and incubator space to empower students to become inventors and entrepreneurs. We will measure success using real world results: number of products developed, funds raised, patents granted, college admissions and jobs for our students. We are collaborating with the Lemelson MIT invent program to provide curriculum and conduct academic research on the efficacy of our project. This will enable us to enhance our program and accurately quantify our results.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 30

Indirect Impact: 30,000